Why exercise may not be near as important for weight loss…

Being the researcher you all know I am, and continuing along the lines of recent discoveries I’ve made, I recently came across this interesting video on YouTube:

Weight loss and exercise It’s less than 5 minutes long and worth every second!

In this video they talk about our resting, aka basal, metabolic rate which is the calories burned to keep us alive each day. This means just breathing, doing nothing, in a neutral temperate environment (neither too hot, nor too cold) and not in the process of digesting food. Important note, this by no means indicates that exercise is not necessary in our lives. Regular exercise does help keep us healthy and to live longer. This blog is about exercise and weight loss.

Our resting metabolic rate accounts for the majority of our calories burned, over which we have very little control. A good portion of our calories burned each day also goes to food breakdown. The rest of the calories burned, about 10-30%, goes to energy for physical activity. So that means that although 100% of our calories in each day are under our control, only about 30% of calories out are under our control. The old adage that weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out, no longer applies. Anyone who tells you that weight loss is that simple is not up on current research. If you’ve been reading my blogs about body shape types (part 1part 2) or my page on Breaking Free From Emotional Eating program, then you know that weight loss is most definitely not just about calories!

There’s also evidence of two other possible reasons why exercise doesn’t work for weight loss. 1) People tend to get hungry after working out and thus many eat more than they would if they had not exercised, and 2) people sometimes slow down, meaning are less active or move slower in other activities after exercise. It’s called “compensatory behaviour” and it’s one of the ways we unknowingly undermine our workouts.

The video states that research has also discovered something called “metabolic compensation”, as people start to slim down their resting metabolism can slow down so the amount of energy you burn at rest is lower (remember this is the part where most of the calories are burned and you have little control over).

It takes so much energy via physical activity to burn off some of the food choices we make that most people get discouraged, don’t have the time, might eat more because the exercise made them hungry, that it’s best to moderate your food intake rather than try to adjust the impact of overeating by vigorous exercise. Some quick examples of how long it takes to burn off some food choices: 60 min of running to burn off a burger & fries, 60 mins of vigorous dancing to burn off a few glasses of wine you had at dinner, 60 mins of intense bicycling to burn off 2 donuts! If you eat more than one of those types of food (or overeat in general) all in one day, you could spend 3-4 of your waking hours exercising! This is why I pay no attention to the calories (supposedly) burned that I see on exercise machines at the gym, I find it way too discouraging. Additionally, all that exercise is shown to be injury causing, disease causing (possibly – the science is still young), and stress causing.

If you’ve ever heard that weight management (loss, gain, maintenance) is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, now you know why. A clean whole foods, unprocessed, preservative free (or at least minimal preservatives) diet appropriate for each individual is the way to weight control! What’s more, the belief that “I can eat what I want and/or how much I want and not gain weight if I exercise enough” is also a falsehood. You may not gain weight (that’s a big maybe) if you do tons of exercise, but if you’re eating a processed, sugar filled (have you read food labels lately?), high carbohydrate, chemical heavy diet, then you’re not healthy, and won’t remain that way over the long term either. Overeating of a healthy diet is not good either. Too much of healthy whole foods is still too much.

It’s not impossible to lose weight with exercise but it’s a lot harder. If you go to the gym and use a significant amount of your valuable time and put in considerable effort to burn off calories, you can erase all of that in 5 mins by eating a slice of pizza! Seems a whole lot easier and much more effective to eat a moderate intake of clean whole foods, with an occasional/rare indulgence; and use exercise for the immediate and long term health benefits.

Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of my blog on the 3 body shape types. If you haven’t read part one yet go here. In part 1 I covered descriptions of the 3 types, and nutrition and exercise recommendations for the Endomorph type. In this blog I’ll be covering nutrition and exercise for the other 2 types – Mesomorph and Ectomorph.

A quick review of the physical features of both of these types:

The Mesomorph body type  is almost the exact opposite of the Endomorph. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Mesomorph:

If you have this body type, you are able to put on muscle easily when you lift weights and find it fairly easy to gain and lose body weight. However, this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want and lie around on the couch all day.

Balance is important for the Mesomorph, who falls between Endomorphs and Ectomorphs — the other two body types which are characterized by excess body fat and skinniness, respectively. I recommend that mesomorphs follow a dietary plan that is nearly balanced between the three macro-nutrients — 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat. At each meal. Make calories count by choosing whole foods (over processed foods), which tend to be more nutrient-dense and lower in unhealthy fat, salt and sugar. Focus on non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, limit dairy products (don’t replace full fat with low or non-fat, they’re full of added sugar to make up for the missing fat), and enjoy nuts and seeds in moderation. Get healthy fats by drizzling your salad with olive oil or topping it with sesame seeds, or adding avocado to a salad or on a lean burger.

Just as they should eat a balanced diet, Mesomorphs should engage in a balanced fitness regimen including both cardio and weight training. Lift moderate to heavy weight in order to stimulate muscle growth. But be careful not to overdo it. Once a Mesomorph has reached their ideal physique, they can train to maintain. Mesomorphs don’t need to do as much cardio as Endomorphs, but they should still engage in cardio exercise such as running or cycling for 35 minutes three days a week.

Nutrition and Exercise for the Ectomorph:

Since Ectomorphs have such a naturally fast metabolism, they must make sure to consume an adequate amount of calories and carbs. Ectomorphs typically handle carbs much better and should consume a sufficient amount of high-quality carbs every day in order to support intense training sessions. Ectomorphs should also aim to eat every two to four hours, meaning have smaller meals more frequently, 6 meals a day! Take advantage of high quality carbs (starchy, unprocessed, whole grain carbs), don’t skimp on protein. Even add some carbs to your after workout protein drink! It’s still about balance, protein is still important but Ectomorphs need and can handle a higher carb to protein ratio. Fruits and vegetables are also still important. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are in these foods that are absolutely essential for you to grow and be healthy. Don’t allow being an Ectomorph to be an excuse to eat crap! A healthy diet always includes plants with every meal.

Being naturally leaner and finding it harder to gain weight, Ectomorphs should focus on resistance training and limit endurance-type training. So the name of the game is strength and building muscle. In order to gain strength and size, Ectomorphs should focus on resting longer between sets, using heavier weights for fewer reps (four to eight) and not targeting the endurance energy systems during training (you’re not running a marathon here, so you don’t want to feel as if you are).

You can do your weight session three times per week, resting a day in between sessions. You should not be doing a ton of high-intensity cardio on your off days (even if that’s your natural inclination), but you can stay active with low-intensity activities like walking or swimming. Compound movements are great for you, as they maximize your workout time by working multiple muscle groups at once. So if you’re burned out on your current workout, try incorporating lunges with biceps curls, squats with an overhead press or renegade rows with push-ups.

So, there you have it, the best way to eat and workout for your body type. Remember though that a) you may not fit perfectly into one of the body types and b) always listen to your body when changing routines and adjust accordingly. Your body wants to be its best healthy self. If we listen to it and do our best by it, it will get there!

I’m off to the gym to do my own HIIT workout and then out into the sunshine for a walk with a friend. Enjoy your day 🙂

Ectomorph, Endomorph or Mesomorph, which one are you? (part 1)

I’ve recently begun research on the 3 (main) body shape types. You will find a few sources out there that list more than 3 types, but 3 is the most common or accepted number. I started this research because of knowing my own body well, but still needing more information when it comes to the best way to nourish my body and to exercise for the best healthy results.

In this recent exploration I’ve also researched (re-read parts of the book) on Eating For Your Blood Type, and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. I’ve found some great sources of information online about all of this, and I’m thrilled with how I’m feeling and looking since I made some changes.

It’s interesting to note that what I’m discovering is not new for me/to me. I’ve known for years really about my body type and how it reacts to food and types of exercise but 2 things are important to mention- 1) for whatever reasons I didn’t trust the info my body was giving me, and 2) there is a lot more science based research out there compared to 15-20 years ago.

Let’s start with a pic and description chart of the 3 types:

3 body types

I hope you can read the description part. I picked this pic because it shows women and men figures. I am definitely an Endomorph body type. This is the type that gains fat easily, darn! Yet we also gain muscle easily. We have the softer, rounder body. Quite stocky and generally on the short(er) side. It is hard for us to lose fat, we have a slow metabolism and our muscles are not well defined.

The Mesomorph body type however is almost the exact opposite. They are athletic, generally with a hard body. Their muscles are well defined, they are strong and gain muscle easily. They have a more rectangular body shape.

The small, delicately framed Ectomorph, tend to be flat chested, with small shoulders and on the thin side. They have lean muscle mass and find it hard to gain weight and muscle. They also tend to have a fast metabolism.

A person can be a combination of more than one of the body types but tend to be predominately one of the types.

I’m going to talk about the best exercise and nutrition for the Endomorph type in this blog and the Ectomorph and Mesomorph types in my next blog.

Let’s start with the nutrition component, which is about 80% of the whole package. One of the things I’ve learned in my research is about “eating windows”, in other words how many hours in a day is your eating spread over. For most people it’s about 12 hours. From 8 am to 8 pm for example. Now of course that doesn’t mean they are eating constantly for 12 hours, it just means that their total food intake for the day is spread over 12 hours. For us Endomorphs shortening that window to no more than 8 hours is a better strategy. For me that means keeping my eating from about 11 am to 7 pm. I remain flexible though to my schedule each day and to how I feel. If I wake up hungry then I’ll eat, and my eating will just shift to ending earlier. If I’m not hungry, then I’ll wait. I’ve been experimenting too with hot and cold morning fat fueled drinks (for more on that look here), that don’t break the fast but give me some nutrients.

So just what should you eat as an Endomorph for your best health and/or weight loss?

Endomorphs tend to be quite sensitive to carbohydrates (grain and grain products, rice, pasta, starchy vegetables, etc) AND sugar. A low carb diet, moderate in high quality proteins, and higher in good fats, such as wild caught salmon, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed beef, soy and corn free chicken (with the skin on), lots of greens and other non-starchy vegetables (avoid corn, potatoes, beets, cooked carrots, and similar vegetables), eat free range eggs and uncured bacon (aka pork belly). Limit fruit and choose mostly berries when you do eat fruit. Be wary of alcohol and artificial sweeteners, and the “good” sweeteners (like honey, coconut palm sugar and maple syrup). Some artificial sweeteners can still spike blood sugar, such at malitol and xylitol. Others like alcohol-free Stevia drops, Inulin, Monk Fruit and Erythritol do not spike blood sugar. Notice I’m not mentioning aspartame, sucralose or saccharin, do yourself a huge favour and avoid these forever!

If you’re noticing a similarity here between what I’m recommending and the Paleo and Ketogenic diets, it’s because there is a similarity! This way of eating is also in tune with the Eat Right For Your Blood Type recommendations for those who are blood type O. I happen to be blood type O and I have found this way of eating works well for me. I am still, after about 3 weeks now (and 9 lbs gone), tweaking things to work with what’s best for me. We are all different and following any one plan exactly is not necessarily the best for each individual. Think of it as a starting point. A place to begin, and then listen to your body, give it time to adapt – although the truer a plan is for your body, the faster your body adapts in a positive way.

The other 20% of the healthy balanced Endomorph package is exercise! I know, I know, for us who gain weight so easily and have slower metabolisms and have difficulty losing fat, exercise can seem pointless or too difficult to fit into our busy days; but there’s good news. As Endomorphs, we don’t have to do long boring cardio sessions, or any kind of long weight lifting session at the gym. We want a balanced workout plan with a focus on resistance training (body weight resistance training doesn’t require any extra equipment) and HIIT (high intensity interval training) with a longer slower cardio workout maybe 1-2 times a week. That’s when I enjoy a good 2 (or more) hour hike with friends. A steady state workout plan where we do longer slower (supposedly fat burning) workouts ALL the time actually creates insulin resistance. Studies show that high intensity exercise puts you at a LOWER risk for disease, whereas endurance exercise is counterproductive to health (hence the healthy eating marathon runner that drops dead from a sudden heart attack). Research also shows that 6 mins of pure hard exercise could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate exercise, 2 mins from a BBC2 video on this. A HIIT workout plan fully depletes glycogen stores causing your body to burn fat for fuel and enhances insulin sensitivity. This also equals a higher metabolic rate. High Intensity Exercise activates an enzyme called Hormone Sensitive Lipase which mobilizes body fat making it the preferred energy source. HIE/HIIT also causes the release of adrenaline which causes this enzyme to operate under an amplification cascade. In other words it boosts the whole ‘fat for fuel, increased metabolic rate’ to surge in a beneficial way for your body.

There are SO many free videos on YouTube and written/pictorial workouts on multitudes of fitness sites that there is no way I can list them here for you. I suggest typing “HIIT workouts”, into YouTube or Google and you’ll have plenty to choose from. This is also a time where you want to listen to you body, try new things, modify and adapt to your current fitness level while challenging yourself, and most of all – have fun!! Oh, one last thing, within 45-60 mins after your workout make sure to eat some low GI carbs, about 15-30 grams worth for best fat burning. You want your body to stay in the catabolic fat burning state a little longer. Some examples of low GI carbs would be yam, sweet potato, bananas, berries, apple or an orange.

There is tons of research online about all of the above eating plans, exercise plans, and about the body types. I hope I’ve condensed it here (and in part 2 of this blog) in a manner that gives you the basics and maybe encourages you to do more research so that you can modify and adapt any and all plans to best suit your body so that it can be healthy and balanced the way it wants to be.

Oh, oh, one more last thing (chuckles) before I go do my own HIIT workout, for women, mid-afternoon is said to be the best time to workout in order to most benefit hormones, weight management and to stabilize mood.

I’ll be posting part 2 of this series, on the nutrition and exercise best suited to Ectomorphs and Mesomorphs within the next few days.

Until then,

have a great weekend

Foods and Moods, part 3 (of 3)

Good morning on this beautiful spring Monday in Vancouver! I had an amazing weekend of events with good friends including an awesome adventure on Bowen Island hiking for 2 1/2 hours yesterday that included a killer hill. Today I’m sore, but it was so worth it, I definitely challenged myself.

Today’s blog is part 3 of my foods and moods series based around reducing the physical and mental effects of stress with superfoods. I do feel there may be more to this topic than I originally thought I’d be blogging about but I think 3 big blogs is a great starting point. If by chance you missed the first 2 parts to this series, they can be found here (pt 1) and here (pt 2)Please note I am not stating in any way to eat these foods and not go to your doctor if you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms that could be signs of something serious! 

So let’s get started with part 3:

18. Beets – are an abundant source of dozens of vitamins and minerals, including being one of the richest sources of energy boosting iron. They’re also high in betaine and typtophan for easing depression and lifting mood. Beets are rich in: Folate to build tissue and red blood cells to increase energy. Betalains which are plant chemicals that have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Nitrates which have been shown to lower stress related high blood pressure within an hour. Boron, shown to help improve virility in both men and women.

19. Avocado – one of my faves, they contain more than 25 key nutrients, including the B vitamins and postassium to encourage the health of the nervous system. The healthy fats avocado contain can help to promote heart health while regulating blood pressure. They are also high in vitamin E to boost immunity and improve skin health. Avocados are rich in: Beta-sitosterol to lower unhealthy cholesterol. Potassium to control blood pressure. Fiber and monounsaturated fats for balancing blood sugar levels, and preventing insulin resistance – a common side effect of stress. Folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K to reduce stress levels and improve the health of the nervous system.

20. Eggs – are quite often the underdog of the food world. They are far more complex and healthy than they get credit for. Eggs contain key nutrients and are high in protein to balance blood sugar and provide sustainable energy. Rich in B vitamins that support the nervous system they are an essential part of an anti-stress diet. They are rich in: Tryptophan to regulate mood and encourage sleep. Tyrosine to support mental activity and concentration. Protein to stimulate overall health and help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. Pantothenic acid, the anti-stress vitamin that supports the adrenal glands.

21. Cinnamon – has long been used for medicinal purposes and studies have found that it not only lowers blood sugar levels, but also boosts energy and eases the impact of stress. Its smell has been shown to improve brain function and memory. Cinnamon is rich in: MCHP, a chemical that reduces blood sugar levels and some forms of anxiety. Anti-inflammatory chemicals to assist in heart health, protect arteries from stress related damage, and reduce muscle and joint pain. Calcium to calm anxiety and restore nervous system function. Essential oils that boost immunity and stimulate healthy digestion.

22. Cranberries – are one of the richest sources of vitamin C and other antioxidant nutrients which play an important role in reducing the damaging effects of stress. They’re full of fiber too, helping to regulate digestion and blood sugar levels. They are rich in: Phytonutrients which reduce inflammation, ease muscle and joint pain, and improve oral health, digestion and heart health. Proanthocyanidans proven to boost immunity. Resveratrol, picetanno, and pterostilbene which can help to prevent heart and circulatory damage caused by stress. Chemicals that can help to prevent ulcers.

23. Yogurt with live active cultures – the live active cultures being a very important part of the yogurt you eat. Yogurt contains probiotics (healthy bacteria) and can often be tolerated by people who are intolerant to lactose. It is a great source of calcium and the B vitamins. By encouraging the health of the digestive tract, yogurt can improve digestion, immunity, and emotional health by elevating communication between the gut and the brain. Its rich in: Friendly bacteria to strengthen the health of the digestive tract, help it absorb nutrients more efficiently, and enhance immune function. Probiotics which have been shown to positively impact the brain chemistry involved in stress, anxiety and depression. Calcium to act on the nervous system and foster restful sleep. The B vitamins for a healthy nervous system and improved relaxation.

24. Popcorn – it’s the salt and butter, other seasonings and toppings we add that create the problems associated with extra fat and calories. It includes more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables and as a whole grain it is an excellent source of B vitamins, fiber, slow release carbs and good quality protein. All that being said, if you’re not buying organic popcorn then you’re buying GMO corn which I do not recommend. Also the majority of people actually have trouble digesting corn (less so with popped corn), which can be quite noticeable when you use the bathroom after eating it. Popcorn is rich in: Polyphenols that can protect the body from disease and stress related damage. Ferulic acid which protects against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and diseases of the nervous system. Fiber aiding in healthy digestion and enhanced absorption of nutrients from food. B vitamins to improve nerve function and help produce energy.

25.  Almonds – comprises more nutrients than any other nut and are an excellent source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron, all of which play an important role in coping with the stress of day-to-day life, and nurture a sense of calm. The healthy fats they contain help to prevent heart disease and decrease inflammation in the body. They are rich in: Vitamin E that has been shown to prevent damage caused by stress while boosting immunity. The B vitamins and magnesium for serotonin production, regulating mood and relieving the symptoms of stress. Zinc to fight the negative effects of stress. Calcium to promote restful sleep and encourage relaxation.

Last but not least,

26. Bananas – are effective little packages of energy with a host of key nutrients to help your body work at optimum levels. Most important they provide plenty of potassium which is required for a healthy nervous system and balanced moods. Bananas are rich in: Potassium to improve heart health and the nervous system, and lower blood pressure. Tryptophan to help the body produce serotonin which calms the brain. B6 to stimulate the production of oxygen rich red blood cells and disease fighting antibodies. Fiber to improve digestion and balance blood sugar.

Whew! Another long but important batch of superfood information. The connection of food to physical, mental and emotional health is becoming more and more well known, but there is always more to learn. I hope this 3 part series has given you a ton of great info to help you shop for quality, whole, fresh foods as a primary source of nutrition not just for your physical well-being, but also for your mental and emotional well-being. Add regular doses of sunshine and being out in nature to your plan and you’ll be feeling healthier, more positive and less stressed in no time. Speaking of sunshine and nature, it’s 18*C here and gloriously sunny, I’m heading out into it now. 🙂

3 simple things to do this week

Foods and Moods, part 2 (of 3)

Well, here we go with part 2 of my 3 part blog on foods and moods! If you missed part 1 you can find it here. I have a feeling I’m going to be adding even more to this topic so it may turn about to be a total of about 6-7 blogs. For now lets continue with my current focus on superfoods, stress reduction and supporting your mind and body. In part 1 I included 8 superfoods, I’m going to include another 9 in this part while continuing the count. Please note I am not stating in any way to eat these foods and not go to your doctor if you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms that could be signs of something serious! 

Here we go:

9. Pistachios – are packed with essential nutrients including high levels of magnesium (a macro-mineral needed in large amounts by the body, that many of us are low or deficient in), immunity boosting B vitamins and healthy fats to protect the heart. They are rich in: Vitamin A & E, which can help prevent inflammation that causes digestive upsets, and aches & pains. Omega oils which also reduce inflammation, encourage brain and heart health and support the immune system. Vitamin B6, essential for the supply of oxygenated blood to maintain energy levels and is also required for healthy immunity and nervous system. Protein, fiber and healthy fats, helping to balance blood sugar.

10. Apricots – these are also high in magnesium, the anti-stress mineral that decreases the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Apricots are rich in: as mentioned already, magnesium, helping to reduce heart palpitations, relax muscles, encourage restful sleep and support a healthy nervous system. Fiber, encouraging healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. Beta-carotene and lycopene, 2 antioxidants that support heart health and boost immunity. Iron, for boosting immunity and energy levels.

11. Spinach – aids relaxation and promotes a feeling of calm again because of a high magnesium content. It’s rich in: Iron to fight fatigue and also help soak up excess cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Folic acid & the other B vitamins to strengthen the nervous system and memory. Fiber to balance blood sugar and boost healthy digestion. Anti-inflammatory chemicals neoxanthin and violaxanthin which reduce inflammation and pain. Peptides which help to lower blood pressure. Vitamin K, good for brain function & a healthy nervous system.

12. Sweet potatoes – their bright colour is an indicator of high antioxidant vitamins and other important chemicals that can help reduce the impact of stress on our body and mind, and prevent inflammatory conditions associated with chronic stress. Sweet potatoes are rich in: Vitamin B6, which supports the nervous system, encourages relaxation and aids in preventing heart disease. Vitamin C, helping to reduce cortisol in the body, boost immunity and ease digestion. Vitamin D for balancing moods, supporting heart & nerve health and relieving fatigue. Magnesium, promoting restful sleep and aiding in relaxation.

13. Apples – contain a host of nutrients that work to reduce the production of cortisol, help balance blood sugar  and are bursting with antioxidants to support every part of your body. They are rich in: Quercetin, that supports the immune system, reduces cortisol production and strengthens brain function. Phosphorus and iron for repair of damage caused by stress. Pectin, a soluble fiber that promotes digestion and the health of the digestive tract as well as balancing blood sugar. Sulfur which supports liver function.

14. Grapes – both green and black grapes, especially the seeds and skins, contain crucial vitamins, minerals and othereat a rainbow nutrients that can alleviate the impact of stress on the body, and even relieve headaches. They are a traditional remedy for fatigue probably because of their high iron content. Grapes are rich in: Manganese & potassium, which lower blood pressure, boost immunity and help prevent depression. Resveratrol, well known for supporting heart health, lowering sugar and fat levels in the blood and reducing blood pressure. Beneficial bacteria aiding with digestion and reducing the risk of stomach ulcers. Antioxidant nutrients and chemicals that protect the heart, reduce stress related damage to cells and reduce inflammation.

15. Cherries – Both sweet and sour cherries are packed with nutrients that can affect your sense of well-being, your heart health and your risk of diabetes! Cherries can diminish headaches and other tension related aches, and protect the body against disease and the effects of stress. They are rich in: Melatonin, a calming and restful sleep hormone. Anthocyanins which are plant chemicals that block inflammation and pain from stress. Tyrosine, an amino acid that is required for quality sleep, good mood, virility and concentration. Fiber for controlling blood sugar and aiding digestion.

16. Brown rice – is an excellent source of fiber, and tryptophan, the amino acid that increases serotonin & melatonin in the body for an increased sense of well-being and deep sleep. It also acts like a brush in the digestive tract helping the absorption of nutrients. Brown rice is rich in: The B vitamins, supporting the nervous system, balancing moods and improving concentration. Manganese for a healthy nervous system and energy production. Selenium for immunity, balancing moods and nurturing heart health. Magnesium for relaxing the nervous system, reducing blood pressure, lowering the number of headaches and increasing restful sleep.

17. Mushrooms – retain their nutrients no matter how they’re cooked. They contain natural insulin to help balance blood sugar and restore a sense of calm. They are rich in: Polysaccharides shown to boost the immune system. Copper helping to produce healthy blood cells and maintain heart health. Potassium to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Niacin to support the health of the nervous system. Whole books have been written about the power of mushrooms, don’t underestimate the little fungi.

I know it’s another long blog but it’s such helpful important information. I know I’m going to make all the foods in this 3 part blog the core of my grocery list!! See you in a few days with part 3 🙂

 

Foods and Moods, part 1(of 3)

Hello on this gorgeous spring day here in Vancouver BC! 🙂

Since my focus in my practice is currently Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, I want to share some information about foods andevery time you eat which ones to eat in order to positively affect your mood (and your body). As you’ve heard me mention many times, the body mind and spirit are all connected; you can’t affect one without affecting the others. I’m going to be sharing a large amount of info so I’m dividing this topic into 3, possibly 4 blogs.

One of the biggest causes of over eating and emotional eating is stress. We all experience stress to some degree on a daily basis. That stress can be coming from our environment (work, traffic, financial worries), our relationships (family, lovers/partners, co-workers), or from within ourselves as the deeper issues (past hurts, limiting beliefs, low self esteem, and more) are triggered by our current experiences. What and how we eat can have either a positive or a negative affect on us. Choosing foods that support and nourish the mind and body are important for combating stress and can help us be in a stronger place when we’re ready to deal with the deeper issues causing us to emotionally over eat.

Depending on how stress manifests within us there are foods to eat that help to manage that stress, support you physically and mentally through it and also to reduce the stress.

I’m going to be sharing with you about the Superfoods for stress relief. There are many of them that help support your health on all levels and offer long-term protection from stress related conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure). You could call these functional foods. Please note I am not stating in any way to eat these foods and not go to your doctor if you’re experiencing physical or mental symptoms that could be signs of something serious!

Let’s get started:

  1. Dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa solids! If you think that dark chocolate is too bitter, work your way up. When I switched to dark chocolate I started at 55%, now I find anything below 70% too sweet and seldom buy less than 85%. Eating 1 1/2 oz every day lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Dark chocolate is rich in: antioxidants which boost immunity and encourage heart health. Phenethylamine which is a natural ingredient released into the brain when we experience positive emotions. Oleic acid, a cholesterol busting fat. Magnesium, which eases headaches, fatigue, and palpitations. Iron, helping to balance mood, ease headaches, and boost energy.
  2. Mango – that bright orange flesh has more than 3 times the vitamin C of a glass of orange juice! It’s been shown to regulate blood pressure & because it’s full of iron will also improve energy levels. Mango is rich in: Antioxidants and phenols, which protect against stroke and heart disease. Prebiotics and fiber for healthy digestion. Potassium to ease palpitations and lower blood pressure. Vitamin C, which is great for immunity, heart, eyes and skin. Vitamin B6 for relaxation, stress reduction, and increased energy.
  3. Oats – have a positive impact on the nervous system, sooth the digestive system and contain enough protein to encourage overall health and help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. They are rich in: Soluble fiber which aids digestion and lower blood cholesterol. B vitamins thus stimulating the production of the feel good hormone serotonin. Calcium, potassium & vitamin A which are essential for a healthy nervous system. Magnesium which counters irritability and anxiety, and soothes headaches. Oats are a slow release carbohydrate which provides long-term energy. Phytonutrients (plant chemicals) which protect the body from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  4. Salmon – look for wild caught Alaskan salmon. Salmon are rich in: Omega oils which ease inflammation, improve brain function, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) reduces depression and improves mood and cognition. Selenium for a healthy heart and joints. B6 and B12 to reduce the emotional and physical effects of stress. Vitamin D and certain proteins that reduce inflammation causing headaches and other aches & pains.
  5. Ginger – a number of studies have shown the impact ginger has on stress. It boosts libido and mood, acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) for headaches & muscle pain, and settles a stressed digestive system. It’s rich in: Gingerol, a phytonutrient that has been shown to reduce muscle pain by 25%, ease tension related headaches, improve digestion and reduce nausea. Antioxidants helping boost the immune system. Vitamin B6 to protect against the physical and emotional effects of stress. Chemicals that protect the brain from unhealthy blood sugar levels (which can be caused by long-term stress).
  6. Turkey – low in saturated fats it’s a healthy alternative to many types of meat. It is rich in: Tryptophan encouraging the release of seratonin, which besides lifting mood also aids in sleep. Phenylalanine, an amino acid that prevents depression. B3 and B6 to support the nervous system. Selenium which helps support the function of the immune system. Protein for balancing blood sugar and providing amino acids for tissue repair.
  7. Brazil nuts – the BEST source of selenium. These nuts are rich in: Zinc, which is drained by chronic stress and anxiety, and boosts healthy immunity, libido, hormone balance, energy levels and memory. Selenium for mood balancing and preventing anxiety and depression. B vitamins, reducing the impact of stress on the mind and body. Omega oils for easing of inflammation and promoting heart health. Magnesium which aids in better absorption of energy from food and for healthy nerve function.
  8. Blueberries – are a superstar of the superfoods category! These superstars are rich in: Antioxidants, such as anthocyanins which lower blood pressure, protect the nervous system and the digestive tract, encourage optimum brain function and balance blood sugar. Vitamin C to boost immunity, reduce the impact of cortisol (the stress hormone) thus positively affecting both body and mind.

Okay, that’s enough for this blog! *Whew* that’s a lot of information to take in and I’ll be adding two more blogs on this topic, posted over the next 3-5 days. Start eating the right foods to help you manage and reduce the impact of stress on your mind and body, today! Don’t wait. Finding other ways to reduce the stress in your life would be of benefit too. Perhaps an idea for a future blog. 🙂

Neural Circuitry and Emotional Eating

Below posted in its entirety is a blog post from Mark Licata. From a personal view his words are so true. With all of the hypnosis work I’ve done I discovered a lot of patterns/programming within myself began at birth, and I also have an intense time period of 4 yrs from about age 8-12 where more happened. I’ve used hypnosis to access my subconscious and make changes/reframe those early patterns. It takes work and can be painful, stressful and intense. Worth. Every. Moment. 

Using hypnosis and other techniques (personal for everyone) we can reorganize that neural circuitry and live joyfully in the now. This is why I know and deeply believe that working on the subconscious level to change our deepest patterns, is the missing component in weight loss. No “diet” addresses our desire to be worthy of being loved, our fears around being vulnerable, our need to be safe in a chaotic world, that we are using food as a coping mechanism for.

Please read Mark’s blog below and let me know if any of it resonates with you. If you desire to Break Free from Emotional Eating and are ready to do the deep work necessary reach out to me at nourishment3@gmail.com.

“Early relational experiences are encoded in our neural circuitry in the first 18 months of life. They are stored as implicit memory, inaccessible by means of conscious awareness, and form the templates through which we engage the relational world. As we have come to see, these organizing principles come surging in our intimate relationships – with lovers, friends, our children – as well as with the alchemical ‘other’ inside us, by way of previously disavowed emotions, feelings, and somatic information of all kinds.”

“Our expectations in relationship – the reliability of others, our worthiness of being loved, what we can count on, our fears around being vulnerable – are structured in a fragile little nervous system that is longing for safety and connection. The neural pathways are tender, open, and responsive, as we seek attuned, right brain-to-right brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, to have our subjective experience held and mirrored, and for the space in which we can explore unstructured states of being.”

“While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel so entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of consistent empathic failure, developmental trauma, and insecure attachment, it is never too late. The wild realities of neuroplasticity and the courage of the human heart is unstoppable and an erupting force of creativity and reorganization.”

“Through new relational experiences – with a therapist, a lover, a friend, a baby; or with a star, a deer, a tree, a sunset, or with the moon, it will be revealed that love is the basis of all neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, and lights up the cells in your heart in a fresh moment of warmth, presence, and kindness. Each time you meet and attune to another, receive their love, return it with your presence, and stay close with the ‘other’ within you, a new world is born.”

“As long as there is breath moving in and out, you can update the narrative. You can make new meaning of your life, make a new commitment to the miracle of the here and now, and learn to flood your immediate experience with presence, warmth, and acceptance. Slowly, over time, you can embed your neural circuitry with the new pathway of holding awareness.”

“No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now. In this moment. There is only ever this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.”

You can start right now! 

Happy Valentine’s Day <3

 

 

valentines day

Whether you have a romantic partner in your life or not, always remember you have people that love you – friends, family and chosen family alike, and remember that you love people too. The most important though is to love yourself, in all your imperfect, happy, silly, dirty, nasty, impatient, sad, open, closed, scared, judgmental, angry, light, bright, dark and stormy self!

YOU ARE FLAWSOME!

Flawsome:

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*Shares a little dark chocolate with you all!*

Getting Poked By My Dark Side!

So I last wrote this blog about embracing your dark side and I guess my dark side was listening because it came out to play and poke at me in the last week or so. Of course, what it looked like when my dark side poked me, was fear!

Some fears about success vs failure and what both of those look like to me came forth. Also included were fears about finances. I’m not in a bad place financially (thank the Gods & Goddesses), but so much of my belief system around success & failure is connected to money. There is a whole lot more tied into the fears that came forth, I don’t need to go into all the details in this blog.

You may be wondering what I am doing or did do about these fears. Well, I reached out to a mentor of mine as I know they have gone through some of what I fear and come out the other side happier, more balanced and have embraced and therefore changed their perspective on their similar fears.

My mentor and I talked briefly on the phone as to what I had reached out to them for, and then they sent me some homework to do around the issue(s). I did some introspection on 1) My beliefs around money. 2) My current relationship with money. 3) What are my needs, and what are my desires? 4) What are my fears? 5) What would a loving and empowered relationship with money look like?

Then I did more introspection around my work story. What is the valuable offering I am creating? And the big one for me – What would my work look like if I acted like I am and have enough? About a week later my mentor and I met on Skype for a video call and had a great discussion about my answers to those questions and anything else that popped up.

3 key things and one conformation came out of the call. It was also apparent that more work was necessary but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years it’s that this work (by that I mean personal growth) is seldom quick and easy, so that is not a fear for me.

So, the 3 key things: 1) Learning how to receive (and/or allow) money (and other things) into my life. I am very independent. I’m sure my closest friends can tell you how difficult it is for me to ask for help, or even to accept it when it’s offered without me asking. I’m working on that too. 🙂 In our discussion we talked about the difference between getting/making money and receiving/allowing it with an open heart. 2) My beliefs around success and failure. I’m going to be doing a deeper delving into where they came from, how true or not each one is for me – are any of them really true? And changing my perspective around them. What can I think/believe instead? Since I’ve done a lot of work on changing my perspective about a lot of my beliefs I know how to go about this. 3) Separating my personal value from my business success. I am NOT my business. I am worthy and successful just by being here as me. With my light AND my dark side.

The one conformation: You may have read my blog about my new program that I’m developing and it became very apparent in my Skype call with my mentor that this program is exactly right for me to be doing. I light up (they said) when I talk about it. I come from a place of personal experience with emotional eating, so I absolutely can relate to someone trying to or wanting to deal with it. I know what it takes to make the changes on the deepest subconscious level in order to become free. I know that it is not an easy or quick fix, that it is difficult and scary to face the issues and pain that come from emotional eating. My program will address the one issue that no diet in the world does – emotional eating and how to break free!

So here’s a couple of inspirational quotes that I hope resonate with you, as they do me. Ok, more than a couple 😉

fear, your largest... fear is the brains way... fear has 2 meanings fear and failure

 

Face Everything And Rise! Isn’t fear glorious? lol

Walking along the fear path is the surest way to the most worthwhile lessons and personal growth we can have, in my opinion.

An analogy that is very helpful in dealing with fear, anxiety or strong emotion at their height is the Wave Analogy. When you feel fear, or anxiety or experience other strong (maybe scary) emotions, picture yourself on a beach, feet bare, toes at the edge of the water and as the waves come in acknowledge that fear, anxiety or emotion. Don’t do anything with it. Just acknowledge it “oh hey, I’m feeling fear about X right now”. Then watch as the wave recedes, as it always does, and let it take away the fear, anxiety or emotion. The wave comes in and you acknowledge the fear, the wave recedes and takes the fear with it because you have acknowledged it and accepted it, knowing you don’t need to do anything with it. This takes practice and focus, like any new technique. Don’t imagine one wave coming and going and then it should all be gone. Sometimes it might take only a couple of minutes of imagining those waves before the fear, anxiety or emotion dissipates, other times it might take 20 minutes. Keep practicing, keep focusing. Then you can do the real and deep work necessary to change and grow.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

 

Embracing your dark side

We all have one! Yes everyone! It’s great, easy and comfortable to believe we are only good, only have one side, but it’s not true. It’s lying and hiding from our full authentic messy, dirty, wonderful, amazing selves if we choose to believe otherwise, or choose to hide it from others. 

This past Saturday I went on the second of a series of Inspired Adventures on beautiful Bowen Island. The series is being led by a mentor of mine and an inspiration herself that you may have seen mentioned in a previous blog or two. Her name is Kiley and she is the creator and leader of this series and of the Vision Program that I took with her over a year ago. 

The first Inspired Adventure was back in Nov 2015 and was all about saying YES to life! I’ve certainly being doing that. Showing up for life no matter what it presents to me is a new and wonderful mantra I’ve been living by (ha, I mis-typed “living” as “loiving” – perhaps a wonderful slip that combines loving and living!). 🙂 So there was no hesitation for me to say YES to Kiley’s second Inspired Adventure – Embracing Your Dark Side. 

I love this quote that was shared as part of the work we did:

I am your shadow, your dark lady. I am your protectress. I am your warrioress. I am your deepest power. I am your fragility. I am all that you fear in yourself. I am here to show you the way to your own light. I am part of your light. I love you and am seeking you. I am here to be known by you. What you are seeking is wholeness. You are seeking me.  ~Nandi Hetenyl~

We started out by engaging in an awareness practice. It’s a little difficult to embrace your dark side if you’re not aware of what it looks like inside (and outside) of you. The first question we discussed and contemplated was “What does it mean to have a dark side?” My answer included that it is a part of being balanced and whole but that it wasn’t always easy. Another part that came forth is fear and shame, sometimes feeling both about that part of myself. I think most of us feel both those emotions when it comes to other people truly knowing us, and about truly accepting all of ourselves.

We also discussed and wrote about “What is your current relationship with your dark side?” and also “In what way does your dark side serve you?” For me it included avoidance and impacting the balance of me, and the balance of/in my life.

I’m not going to share the whole program here partly because it’s not my intellectual property and also because I don’t want to make this blog too long. The last part that I’d like to share is the benefits of embracing our dark side. Once we walk through the fear, once we move towards acceptance and also towards love of our dark side, a whole bunch of amazing things manifest in our lives. For example:

1) Freedom! Freedom to be at ease with ourselves in all situations. Freedom to be real.

2) Releasing Fear! When we release fear we blossom, we grow, we become real.

3) Regaining Energy! When you look at your dark side you realize how much energy it takes to keep that side hidden and pushed down, especially from ourselves. When we accept and integrate with our dark sides, when we love it as part of us our energy for other things, for life becomes almost boundless! It requires much less energy to be real.

4) Allowing of other peoples dark side! Like I said at the beginning, we ALL have one. When we’ve accepted and love our own it is easy to allow others to have their’s. To accept theirs without judgement and to love all parts of them.

5) We become real! This if my fave part, my fave benefit. It’s hard work, and often depressing to keep any part of ourselves hidden, especially from ourselves. We may tell ourselves, and it is partly true, that we are hiding for fear others won’t like our whole selves, but mostly we are hiding because we don’t like our whole selves. Somewhere at some point in our lives we were given the idea, directly or indirectly, that part of us, the dark side, was not likable, lovable or wanted. Over time we internalized that and believed it down to our soul. We believed that, from our own view and forgot that it was (most likely) someone else’s view/opinion that started that belief. We decided at some point that it was true even for ourselves. When we embrace our dark side, when we love it, and accept it and look at it without judgement THEN we become real in all our dirty, messy, glorious, beautiful selves!! We become truly free! 

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Come to the dark side, we have cookies! 😉

*The photo was taken by me. This is one of the spectacular views we had on Saturday as we hiked around Kilarney Lake on Bowen Island. The weather had started out pouring rain but by the time we started hiking it had stopped and the sun poking through the clouds and the mist playing at the edge of the water created this incredible view. I’m coming to love that island the more I visit it and could see myself living there.